Monday, December 13, 2010

Walk Woof or Hoof It 12.4k*

So far December is treating me a little better than the previous few weeks, so for the second straight Sunday, Dave and I went to Cali for a race. This one looked to be pretty low key, but of course it only takes one other person to make it a race, right? For us, it was the distance and the possibility of rolling hills, not to mention that there was going to be a TON of animals there for Hannah* (*=and Dad) and that it was the only thing close enough to get to on Sunday!
It actually started at noon, so we didn't even leave the house til after 9. By that time, the weather was already getting nice, and Loomis was to have a high of 65. The race started just down the road from Del Oro High School, and was 2 6k loops. The finish line, however, was on the other side of the HS, so if the first loop was really a 6k, then the 12k looked to be almost a half mile long. No worries, though, I need to sneak some miles in there any way I can. There was a younger kid there who was decked out in the River City Rebels gear (one of the Sacramento racing teams). I didn't catch his name, though, as he had headphones in the whole time. Funny, though. Everybody and their mother seemed to be pointing to him at the start and saying something to the effect of "well, we know who's winning the 12k". I had to have heard that at least a half dozen times. 6-7 months ago, my inner competitor would have gave a hearty silent chuckle and a "we'll see about that", but the fact that I'm still quite a bit slower than I was made it so i just quitely smiled to myself and focused on my pace. If it was enough, so be it, if not...hopefully I still had a decent day.
We took off and seperated from the pack pretty quick. I never looked back, but it seems like it was down to the two of us almost right away, especially since the 6k was starting a few minutes later. For a mile and a half, I played shadow and struggled a little bit to hold the pace he was setting. Maybe it was in my head, but he sure looked more comfortable than I felt. Maybe, just maybe, it was partly due to the fact that my warm-up was a mile short and I took a bit to get in a groove, but after about 2 1/2K, I took the lead. We didn't run together after that for more than a few seconds, and there was a 2nd decent climb between 3 and 4k where I put a gap between us and then pushed juuuuust a bit harder on the downhill and flat to the end of the first 6k loop. I passed 6k (which ended up being a tiny bit short...maybe a tenth k?) in a little over 21 minutes. My goal now was to run as evenly as possible, and not implode before the end and get caught from behind. The fear of that pushed me through a couple rough patches, and I started lapping the 6k walkers, who were full of encouragement. Holding pretty steady...probably 5:49ish per mile on the first loop, and 5:52ish on the second. I snuck a peak once when I heard some cheering 30 second after I went by some walkers with about 2k to go, but saw nobody. As it turns out, the kid either made a huge mistake and ran the 12k thinking it was the 6 (though it was pretty clear it wasn't) or the pace broke him, cause he didn't even run a 2nd loop. Glad I didn't know that or I may have involuntarily slowed down a little.
As it was, I had timed the distance between the end of the first 6k loop and the start of the 2nd loop at 2:24, so this would be a 12k plus a little. I'd say each loop was 100m or so short, but the in-between was 600-700m long, so...400 meters or so longer than advertised...came accross in 45:18 (my goal was high 43 for an actual 12k, so pretty close to spot on) and about 5:50 per mile. My last two hard efforts were a flat road 4 miler at 5:40 pace, and a flat treadmill 10k at 5:45, so this was pretty close to right in line with those. I'm hoping to run a 5k in under 17:00 in the next month or so, but I think there's still some work to do before I get to 5:29 pace. Afterwards, I jogged back out to where Dave was coming up the last little hill with just under 2k to go. I think he's starting to see some tangible progress, cause although he was hurting, he was pulling away from one runner and catching up to another. He even dropped me up the last little hill before the fast finish, passed someone down the homestretch, and finished in 68:51 - just under 9:00 pace. Not a super hard course, especially when you get used to mountainous trail runs, but not exactly a speedburner either, so it was a worthy effort (and a long painful drive home!) for both of us. Luckily we had lunch and beer in Auburn to help us through, and Abby was kind enough to drive us. We even got a box of cupcakes from the race, which didn't last long once we got back. For the record, I'm not a big sweets fan, unless it's chocolate or honey in my beer, but these cupcakes were fanfreakintastic!!! Hannah's was decadent chocolate with a candy cane frosting. Mine was bavarian cream filled. Nice! AND...there were 4 of them and 4 of us, so how can you go wrong?
Next week, if the weather holds (it was 64 during this race and I actually had to remove my glasses twice to wipe sweat from my eyes) I'll head over the hill one last time in 2010 for the Holiday Classic in Sacramento. I'd love to do the north Bay trail run on the 26th, but that's just too long to drive the morning of, and for some reason, the wife wants me around Christmas night. Next year, looks like Captain Kirk and I are going to do the Redding Marathon relay as a two person team, just like Dave and I last year, but maybe without the rain? This is a cool race, but I pushed a little past my distance threshold last year and it hampered me until April. This year, I'll be doing the first 11 miles and Kirk the last 15.2. It'll still be the longest run I've done since last year's 19.5...but I'm looking forward to it. Maybe something else in between as well. Til then...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ferry building 4 Miler

no pics of us, but these'll give you a general idea of the awesome location!

Sunday was my first race in a while. Things were going in reverse and had gotten so bad I didn't even bother to blog about my last October run. Too bad it was such a horrid day for me, cause the race organizers at that one had a real passion and plan to expand the Girls on The Run series in Truckee from 5ks to 5's, 10's and halfs. Hopefully, I'll get healthy enough to do a few.
Back to the present. Dave and I headed over the hill Saturday night and stayed in a Hampton Inn where one online reviewer promised "the chronic" from the front desk guy. Too bad for us it was a female at the desk. Not only did she not beleive our story, but she was loyal to the hotel even when we showed her the review on Dave's phone, laughing the whole time, and wondering why she was keeping the chronic for herself :) Anyway, the hotel was super comfy, to the point where I really didn;t want to get out of bed at GO TIME the next morning. We'd had a good trip so far, scoring 11/12ths of Auburn's entire supply of Deschutes the Dissident.
It took us just under an hour to get from the hotel to the Maritme Museum right by Ghiradelli Square, and much to our surprise, at 8 a.m. there was even free parking!
The place where we'd go back to for breakfast was a bar two blocks from the start, and I owe them a little extra debt of gratitude. Even though there were 150 racers, there was no port-a-john, so I was incredibly happy that Jack's in the Cannery was open at 6, and allowed me to use the restroom. I usually have to take care of biness about 18 times before a race, and things would NOT have gone well if I'd had to hold it.
We started right at 9:00 about 10 yards from the Bay, and headed back towards Fisherman's Wharf on Jefferson, then the Embarcadero. Once we hit the main drag we had to jump up on the sidewalk but it was wide enough that it was a very minor inconvenience. At that time of day, I actually had more runners getting in the way ont he return trip than pedestrains. Anywho, a DSE runner named Ky set the pace right from the gun. Man, my first sea level run in a while feels nice. Mile 1 was a 5:30, which made me a little nervous. I was running in second, trying not to lose contact, but had hoped to be 8 or 9 seconds slower to run 5:40 or under for the whole thing. A mile-and-a-half in I passed for the lead, but we knew we had slowed. I hit the turn in first, though not by much, in 11:19, for a 5:49 split. Yikes. I ran a couple miles at the Napa Marathon at that speed! Ky was still in second, but was followed closely by another runner who'd end up passing before the end. Miles 2-4 were all about pain management as I was starting to redline to hold pace. The 3rd mile was a 5:47, still slower than I wanted to be going, but I was racing more to win now than for splits. It was cool running on the Bridge to Bridge course, one of my all-time favorite races to do. I even got to warm-up and cool down on the hill. When I saw the cannery, I managed a little burst and ended up only 3 seconds off a straight 5:40 pace, winning by 34 seconds in 22:43 (5:40.75). After catching my breath for a minute, I headed back out and saw that Dave was moving pretty well too. He finished at 8:20-21 per mile in 33:23, 50th out of 139 overall.
For me, still about 35 seconds per mile slower than what i could've done healthy, but an improvement over recent runs. I was able to manage a treadmill 10k a few days later in 35:39 (5:45.0 per) which is exactly 30 seconds per mile slower than my 2010 best treadmill time. Of course, the rest of the day was dedicated to food and beer. Back at Jack's we had a great breakfast and very unispired service, and hit up a couple beer stores on the way home, including the always awesome City Beer over by AT & T park. Next up is likely a 12k in a couple days in Loomis where I have rather loose goals, not being at all familiar with the race or the course.
Til then...